Stephanie Poulos '98 hopes she fares better as an American at Eton College than the expatriot protagonists she studied for her thesis on the novels of E.M. Forster and Henry James.
The Annenberg Fellowship last week named Poulos as their annual winner to teach at Eton College, an all-male boarding school in England. The fellowship rotates between Princeton, Harvard and Yale. One award is presented to a senior each year.
Poulos is the first female winner of the Annenberg Fellowship, established by philanthropist and diplomat Walter Annenberg.
"My gender was more of an afterthought when I applied," Poulos said. "I didn't realize I would be the first woman." She said Marue Walizer of the Teacher Preparation program told her she would be breaking the gender barrier.
"It's just an incredible experience, and to be the first woman adds to that," Poulos said.
She said she has been informed that about a dozen of the 150 Elton faculty members are female. However, Poulos said she is not worried about the gender imbalance at the school.
"I really have nothing to be apprehensive about," she said.
Both Poulos' experiences as an English major and as an intern last summer at the Environmental Protection Agency have prepared her for teaching at Eton.
She said she helped implement an environmental education program in Chicago as part of her E.P.A. internship, obtained through Project 55. As part of the fellowship, she will help to develop pilot elective courses at Eton. Her experience last summer will help her plan such classes, she said.
Poulos said she is not sure what she will teach at Eton, but teaching American and British literature would be ideal. "The thesis was ultimately a comparison between American and British literature," she explained.
In addition to teaching duties, Poulos will be asked to help with extracurricular activities. She said she will probably assist with tennis and school publications.
Working with children is not new for Poulos. She has tutored with the SVC project "Homework Helpers," and said she may pursue teaching as a career.
Poulos said though she is considering medical school, she is leaning toward combining university teaching with work in the film industry. Part of her thesis discusses the movies derived from Forster and James novel.
Regardless of career pursuits, Poulos said she is looking forward to spending next school year outside London. "I'm really excited about this. I think the people at Eton are too," she said.
"It is a position with a lot of individuality because I can form my own classes and be involved in extracurricular activities," she said.
Poulos said she will teach at Eton from September through June with two four-week breaks. She said she will receive room and board as well as a stipend of about $30,000.